Being a Master…
Last Thursday I asked Jason to write down what a Master is to share with everyone, so he asked Grand Master Wadley to explain what a Master of Taekwondo is he wrote down the following statement to share:
“A person of superb martial arts moral character. Is seen as a sage or wise person who contributes advice, insight or wisdom to influence leaders of change.”
After Grand Master Wadley promoted him to his Mastership yesterday he wrote this down on his flight home.
At first, I was impressed that after 26 years of martial arts training this dedicated accomplishment could be defined in two sentences. When Grandmaster Wadley referred to me as Master Jason Wokutch, I finally understood what he was passing forward to me. It is my own experience of positive change throughout these many years of dedication, commitment, and effort.
When I started my Taekwondo Journey I was in 10th grade. I wanted to accomplish four goals: to defend myself, learn flashy spin kicks, earn a black belt, and become a master. At my infancy stage of training, I considered a master someone who is the best of the best physical martial arts skillset.
Two weeks before my 16th birthday I walked into my first martial arts class. In my first class, I was completely inspired by not only my instructor’s physical skills but also the mannerism in which he presented himself. The mannerism he executed when teaching was of discipline, technique, and individual improvement. After class, he always offered his time for questions or concerns. After my first class, I was inspired to dedicate myself to emulating the martial artist he was.
Confidence was instilled in me through his short lectures, praise, and correction; not to mention performing at each belt testing. I remember my first Tae Kwon Do class schedule. I would attend six classes per week and often ride my bike to class if I didn’t have a ride. Through those mental attributes I was developing, the first ability I acquired was the confidence to use my verbal skills to stand up again a bully.
Even though the years I was a victim of bullying sometimes still bother me, I have taken these negative experiences and turned them into positive ones. I am not ashamed to share the fact I was a victim of bullying to anyone.
I discuss the topic of bullies in the classroom often. When I do students are very comfortable opening up about this topic. My students know I am approachable to talk to if they are in a similar situation. I receive a tremendous amount of gratification when a student is able to create a path to stop being bullied.
Over the last couple of decades as a martial artist and instructor, I created many other martial arts goals for myself. During this time I have had so many successful memories and also many challenging ones. The successful ones are created by learning and implementing those strategies needed to succeed. The challenging ones are meant to create an experience to learn so these events can be used to create a blueprint that can be implemented to succeed. Using this format over the years has helped me gain the knowledge and understanding to persevere.
I’ve learned when creating a blueprint to overcome a personal challenge people most times have to take detours in order to get to their final destination. Tae Kwon Do offers people many reasons to start classes for themselves. Because of the many varieties of benefits available, a student’s motivation to advance may change over time. My ambitions to continue martial arts are now different than when I originally started, but my end goal has always been the same. Now my personal reasons to accomplish those original goals since I was 16 are now focused on guiding each student to accomplish their personal goals and overcoming challenges we set for them.
When being informed of the requirements which are expected of me for my upcoming testing for 7th-degree black belt, I was inspired by the challenges which I must fulfill and am very excited to accomplish this obstacle. Grand Master Wadley also outlined the requirements to test for the next belt levels. Some of the requirements will be more challenging than anything I ever had to do. Because I have an instructor who has pushed himself, I trust him to push me.
The above is what motivates me to continue to advance as a martial artist. Each martial artist who has earned and been presented the title of Master has their own meaning behind their achievement. Because of the two sentences which were shared with me by Grand Master Wadley, I now understand mine.
Thank you to everyone at Millcreek Karate for all of your ongoing support and dedication!